1. Ethereum Developers Plan Dencun Upgrade on Mainnet by March 13 link
The Ethereum developers are planning to conduct the Dencun upgrade on the mainnet at block height 8626176, scheduled for March 13th at 13:55 UTC. This date is subject to approval by the developers and confirmation through the open-source platform GitHub. The upgrade is primarily renowned for its “proto-danksharding” feature, aimed at reducing transaction costs on Layer 2 networks built on Ethereum by providing dedicated data storage space.
To ensure the smooth operation of Dencun on the mainnet, developers have conducted three tests, with the final deployment occurring this week on the Holesky testnet. The signing date for Dencun signifies that the upgrade’s launch date will be later than the developers’ initial plans. Their original target was the end of 2023, but due to technical delays, the upgrade has been postponed to early 2024.
2. Ethereum Introduces New Experimental Token Standard ERC-404 link
Acme, who claims to be a former engineer at Coinbase and can be found on Twitter as @0xacme, released ERC-404 on GitHub on February 2nd. ERC-404 is described as a hybrid implementation between ERC-20 and ERC-721, where the implementation of ERC-721 is non-standardized. In ERC-404, NFTs are not permanently minted but rather burned and minted repeatedly as needed based on transactions.
This week, tokens based on ERC-404, led by the Pandora project, gained significant popularity. Both Binance and OKX’s Web3 wallets have integrated ERC-404 sections.
3. BlackRock and Fidelity Bitcoin ETFs Surpass Grayscale GBTC in Liquidity link
BlackRock and Fidelity’s spot Bitcoin ETFs have surpassed Grayscale’s GBTC in terms of liquidity. Market breadth indicators based on the Hui-Heubel ratio suggest that the market breadth of these two ETFs is four times that of GBTC. Additionally, indicators of the average deviation from asset net value show that the liquidity of BlackRock and Fidelity ETFs has significantly improved, similar to SPDR Gold Shares ETF, while GBTC shows greater deviation and lower liquidity. Analysts warn that if GBTC fees are not reduced, it could lead to funds flowing into other ETFs, especially BlackRock and Fidelity’s Bitcoin ETFs.
4. SEC to Tighten Regulations on Crypto and DeFi Traders with New Rules link
The SEC is requiring market participants with significant liquidity-providing roles to comply with federal securities laws, which now include cryptocurrencies. These rules will also impact DeFi. The U.S. House Financial Services Republican Committee tweeted that the SEC’s final rule expanding the definition of “traders” is overly broad and could potentially harm market vibrancy, particularly within the digital asset ecosystem. Lack of clarity and consideration for implementation challenges exacerbates these issues, leaving market participants uncertain about their regulatory obligations and potentially disrupting the market. The SEC should reconsider its final rule to ensure market stability and efficiency while fostering innovation.
5. Yellen: Federal Regulators Should Shut Down Stablecoin Issuers Not Meeting National Regulatory Standards link
Janet Yellen, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, stated during a hearing at the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) on Tuesday that “Congress should pass legislation to regulate stablecoins and the spot cryptocurrency markets for non-securities.” Yellen acknowledged the need for enforcing current rules and regulations and outlined various ways in which digital assets could impact the nation’s financial stability, including “runs” on exchanges or stablecoin providers, and volatility in the cryptocurrency markets. Regarding stablecoins, Yellen emphasized the importance of federal regulatory agencies being able to shut down stablecoin issuers that do not meet the national “regulatory baseline,” providing regulatory protection for stablecoin wallet holders.
6. US Treasury: Criminals and Scammers Increasingly Turning to Cryptocurrencies link
The U.S. Department of the Treasury highlighted in three national risk assessment reports released on Wednesday that criminals, fraudsters, and illicit actors are increasingly turning to the use of virtual assets. The Treasury detailed how wrongdoers utilize both cash and a growing array of cryptocurrencies for fraudulent activities, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and money laundering associated with corruption. While the laundering of proceeds from drug trafficking remains predominantly cash-based, the use of virtual assets is gaining attention from U.S. law enforcement agencies. The Treasury plans to release a strategic plan in the coming weeks to share recommendations for addressing the issues outlined in the reports.
7. Hong Kong Begins Legislative Consultation on Cryptocurrency OTC Trading link
The Hong Kong government has announced the commencement of public consultation on the legislative proposal for establishing a licensing regime for over-the-counter (OTC) virtual asset trading service providers. Key points include: anyone conducting business in Hong Kong providing services for the trading of virtual assets and fiat money must apply for a license from the Commissioner of Customs and Excise. The draft proposal also suggests considering similar exemptions for licensed stablecoin issuers after the implementation of the stablecoin issuer licensing regime. Individuals engaging in regulated OTC virtual asset trading services without a license could face a fine of HK$1 million and imprisonment for two years upon conviction through due process. Advertising knowingly promoting OTC virtual asset trading services provided by unlicensed individuals constitutes a crime, punishable by a Level 5 fine (currently set at HK$50,000) and imprisonment for six months.
8. Binance’s Weekly Summary
a. Binance Issues 15th Reserve Proof: Reserves Totaling $80.196 Billion link
The user’s BTC assets have accumulated to 594,000 coins, reflecting a growth of 3.27% since the last update on January 1st, with an increase of 18,836 BTC. User’s ETH assets have accumulated to 4.16 million coins, showing a 4% growth since the last update, with an increase of 160,000 ETH. User’s USDT assets have accumulated to 17.8 billion coins, indicating a 5.68% growth since the last update, with an increase of 957 million USDT. User’s BNB assets have accumulated to 31.83 million coins, experiencing a decrease of 0.51%, with a reduction of 162,000 BNB. According to Defillama data, the current reserve assets of Binance users amount to $80.196 billion, with a net inflow of $1.958 billion since January 1st, 2024.
b. Binance Releases Reminder on Insider Trading Policy link
Binance issued a statement titled “Notice Regarding Insider Trading Policy,” indicating that any employee found engaging in the misuse of non-public information or other inappropriate behavior will be permanently blacklisted. Such individuals will not only lose their jobs at Binance but also face legal repercussions. Binance commits to actively collaborate with law enforcement agencies to address any potential criminal activities. For external listing partners violating confidentiality principles, Binance will promptly terminate listing services or delist tokens associated with the project.
c. Suspected Binance User KYC Data Sold on Dark Web, Official Response Ensures Account Safety link
Binance user KYC data is suspected to be sold on the dark web, allegedly leaked by a GitHub hacker. In response, Binance stated that its security team has assessed the situation and confirmed that there is no such leak in the Binance system, ensuring the safety of user accounts. Accounts are protected by multiple defense measures, including MFA, biometrics, and authenticators.
9. OKX’s Weekly Summary
a. South Korean DAXA Accuses OKX of Operating Locally Without Proper Registration link
The Korean Digital Asset Exchange Association (DAXA) has reported OKX to local authorities, alleging that it is operating locally without proper registration, specifically by promoting its Jumpstart program to local cryptocurrency users through Telegram KOLs. A spokesperson for DAXA stated that they do not have the authority to adjudicate OKX’s alleged violations, and that decision lies with the financial intelligence department. Regulatory agencies under the Financial Services Commission (FSC) are expected to investigate OKX following the report by DAXA.
b. OKX Officially Launches Exchange and Web3 Wallet in Argentina link
OKX has announced the official launch of its exchange and Web3 wallet in Argentina. It offers dedicated Spanish language support and a range of popular local payment alternatives within its P2P ecosystem. Hong Fang, the CEO of OKX, stated: “With over 50 million users globally, Argentina is an important platform for our regional growth strategy.”
10. Crypto Platform Bakkt May Face Closure Due to Funding Shortages link
The company stated in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): “We may not be able to continue operating. Our cash and restricted cash are unlikely to support our operations for the next 12 months.” Bakkt, founded by Intercontinental Exchange, originally aimed to help Starbucks customers purchase coffee using Bitcoin. Bakkt went public in 2021. The company’s stock closed at $1.45 on Wednesday, significantly lower than its over $40 price in 2021.
- Ronin ecosystem gaming platform Pixels announced securing $4.8 million in strategic funding. link
- Web3 security and analytics firm FuzzLand completed a $3 million seed round financing. link
- Cryptocurrency startup Superform Labs raised $6.5 million in seed and angel financing rounds. link
- Bitcoin ecosystem infrastructure Omega announced the completion of a $6 million financing. link
- Micro-payment startup Code completed a $6.5 million seed round financing. link
- Filecoin’s liquidity collateral protocol Glif announced the completion of a $4.5 million seed round financing. link
- Startale Labs raised $3.5 million in follow-up financing after its Series A round. link
- Mobile encrypted payment app Oobit announced securing $25 million in Series A financing, with participation from Solana Labs. link
- L1 blockchain Nibiru Chain completed a $12 million financing round, with Kraken Ventures participating. link
- Bitcoin L2 network Merlin Chain announced financing, with participation from OKX Ventures and ABCDE, among others. link
Learn more, check out crypto-fundraising.info.